Uncategorized

A letter to the Christian after Vegas shootings

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I write brothers and sisters as that is what we are in Christ for all eternity. I thank God for you! I write this letter with a heavy and tired heart. But fixing my eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen, I am certain that these light and momentary troubles are achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

My first initial reaction to the Vegas shootings this week was one of numbness. Day by day we wake up to the horrible realities where children are killed and ripped from their mothers wombs by choice, children are sold as sex slaves, the average refugee lives in a a refugee camp for 17 years, child pornography is a new drug, children in the city I live in have to walk past an “adult bookstore” on their way to elementary school, Heroin is easily accessible for teenagers in local schools, and children are living in places eating pies made out of mud. We see the effects of sin in us all and the effect our sin has on each other. I used to work in a skilled nursing home in Tennessee where I would cry in the bathroom regularly on my lunch break. I would go home and have night terrors during the early part of my marriage because the images of my patients laying in stone lonely rooms day after day simply surviving until the next day rocked me to the core. But eventually I had to learn to grow a thick skin to what I would see day after day. I found myself having the same response when I opened my email for the day to see that the deadliest shooting in U.S. history had happened. I simply went on to check my inbox.

I do not like my response and I grieve I had that response initially and where my skin is thick. But I have to see my response as very similar to the church in the west in our day but to thousands dying daily. Every day. Followers of Jesus are sitting back and watching approximately 70,000 people die daily without ever hearing the gospel. Without receiving the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ one faces an eternity receiving the full wrath of God. We sit in our church buildings week after week and consider missions just a side ministry that we might wear a t-shirt for every now and then. Less than 1% of the American churches money is going to spread the gospel to the unreached having more money spent on dog Halloween costumes than what is sent to the reach the unreached with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God in his sovereignty could open up the heavens and reveal Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to all but this is not what God in his sovereignty has chosen to do. God has chosen to use his people to GO and share the gospel so people can hear the call and be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is amazing, God has chosen to use His people to share His great love in bringing a people to himself from every tribe, nation, and tongue through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Brothers and sisters lets please don’t grow a thick skin and let us encourage one another as the day draws near. May we be a people that do not sit back and watch Billions of people perish for all eternity because our hearts were too hard to pray, send missionaries and Go ourselves.

Let’s take seriously Jesus’ words where he tells his disciples “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20). “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

Step back American follower of Jesus and let us weep and mourn with those who mourn and walk in the reality of the great hope we have in Jesus Christ our Lord and share that hope with a perishing world around us with great eagerness and joy.

“And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ” (2 Corinthians 5: 19-20)

The real gospel never ends with you!!! An imposter gospel will end with you but the gospel of Jesus Christ never ends with you.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) We have been given much!!! We have been given the gift of sonship for all eternity in Jesus Christ our Lord and what are you doing with the gospel, the greatest gift ever given?

Always preaching to myself too brothers and sisters.

In Christ,

Lane

 

Uncategorized

Hurting

Last week I went to a course on treatment in adult neurogenics. As I sat and listened to the presenter speak way over my head in an area that I am supposed to have great knowledge in my thoughts were turned to God. Think a moment about all the different professions that study how God made us. Cardiologists, dentists, podiatrists, neurologists, pathologists, oncologists…this list goes on and on. All different fields that go to years and years of schooling and spend a life time learning about how God made us when he “formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils”(Genesis 2:7)

I sit back in awe that we can not even begin to grasp the complexity of how God made us. We have to have a specific field to specialize in. There is no way to even begin to understand them all in full. God breathed and man was created. That is a glimpse at just how powerful God is. We have to rest in the truth that God is not like us and that is a good thing and quit trying to compare him to anything.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8)

We can not comprehend and we need to rest in that and let that fuel worship. If one was ever able to fully comprehend God then God would some how have some kind of measurement and therefore have limits. And if God has limits then He would not be worthy of worship for all eternity.

One truth about God that my small group talked about tonight is how God does not change. Think about this truth about God for a moment. God does not change his mind. We however change constantly. God never changes his love for you poured out in Christ. In fact today God feels about sinners “exactly as He did when He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die for mankind!”(Tozer)  Wow!!! We also have to see that God does not change in His just wrath.

We will all stand before the Lord one day and God will not change His mind about His plans and purposes in Christ. There will be no excuse for anyone. There will be no telling God I went to church, my grandfather was a pastor, I lived on a deserted island and never heard about you, or I was a good person. The truth is every single person in this world is without excuse for worshipping God for who He is.  “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Our only right response is worship and thanksgiving. We all have gone our own way though and fallen short of His glory therefore are separated from Him deserving his full wrath for all eternity. There is no one innocent not one.

But God has reconciled sinners to himself through Jesus Christ our Lord who took the full wrath of God in our place. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14)

God will not change his mind about this as God can not change. It is only by grace you are saved through faith in Christ alone. This is such good news but should bring the follower of Christ to great urgency!!!!! Currently there are billions of people that have never heard the gospel. And “How, then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14)

There is a football stadium full of people daily dying without ever hearing the good news that Jesus has come to reconcile sinners who receive him to a Holy God while we sit in church pews week after week. May the follower of Jesus walk in reckless abandon to make known the mysteries of His gospel because Jesus is worthy of all praise.

Hurting deeply for the unreached tonight,

Lane

Some Scripture references: Isaiah 55 8-11, Isaiah 46: 9-10, James 1:17, Romans 1-3, Romans 10, John 14, Colossians 1

Recommended book reading that goes along with this post:

Radical by David Platt

None Like Him (Jen Wilkin)

Knowledge of the Holy (A.W. Tozer)